The insurance sector is going through a period of significant and rapid change – new technology and innovations are coming on stream constantly and challenging the industry like never before. It’s a hugely exciting time with plenty of opportunities for those who are willing to embrace the future and the modernisation of the sector.
Agata Pociejkowicz, an Insurance Practitioner Graduate working with Brian Mullins Insurance Brokers is one such person – Agata was recently awarded an Apprenticeship Recognition Award (one of two awards – the other was given to Brian McCormack, Murray and Spelman) for the research she conducted as part of her Capstone Project (the apprentice’s final project). Agata chose the topic of Autonomous Cars and examined the potential impact they will have on insurance solutions. We caught up with Agata to learn more about why she chose the topic and what the award means to her. .
Agata, congratulations on your Apprenticeship Recognition Award for your Capstone project – I’m sure it’s a huge honour – can you tell me what it means to be acknowledged in this way?
I am extremely happy that my efforts have been recognised and that my work has been validated. I admit that academic writing was a real challenge, especially for me as English is not my first language.
Can you elaborate on your Capstone project topic and what it detailed?
In short - the project discussed possible insurance solutions to the expected influx of autonomous cars.
Firstly, I wanted the readers to see how the technology developed, the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in this, what it does, its potential benefits and the drawbacks, the problems it may resolve and the issues it may create. I looked into the regulatory issues that are being addressed in other countries and wider markets, such as in the US, Canada, Australia and closer to home – UK and mainland Europe.
Then I looked at people’s perceptions of autonomous cars. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of excitement but also a lot of nervousness – and my research showed that people are looking to the insurers to alleviate some of the potential risks.
As I explored the subject, the liability issue proved to be one of the biggest questions that needs to be addressed. My conclusion was that perhaps, we should explore the possibility of applying a modified form of a no-fault insurance system for autonomous cars, where all parties benefiting from the self-driving technology would have to contribute to the overall insurance premium. My recommendation was that the insurance sector needs to accelerate and intensify preparations to have systems in place when the technology really kicks off. From my research, it appeared that we are currently at the brainstorming stage - the ideas are brewing but more so behind closed doors. I believe that a more systematic discussion is needed to address the many unknowns surrounding the subject.
What do you feel was the benefit to your employer of your capstone project?
The whole experience taught me how to execute larger scale projects and I am confident this is a valuable skill that I can use in my everyday work. Although the topic does not have an immediate link or a direct impact to the way we work today, I am sure it will affect the way we work over the next 5 – 10 years.
Insurance is going through an amazing transition at the moment, catching up with the new technologies, using them for its advantage, with many visionary and innovative projects happening all the time. Streamlining underwriting processes is a fascinating area for improvement where AI will play a massive role. I really hope I can be part of this.
You have just graduated from the apprenticeship programme – that must feel like an enormous achievement as well, was it worth all the hard work?
Oh yes – every single day of work and study was worth it! It seems like only yesterday, when I was starting out as a shy student. Today, only three years later, I am a confident and able professional – the transition was tremendous.
What I really like about insurance is that you never really stop learning. The opportunities to progress your career within the insurance industry are vast – depending on your talents, your interests and your goals you can always find an area that will be just the right one for you.
Interested in becoming an insurance apprentice? Find out more at earnandlearn.ie.